Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two reissues featuring the late soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy — a live recording of a 1963 quartet that only played Thelonious Monk tunes, and later music for solo soprano. Monk was always Lacy's biggest influence.
Jazz great Thelonius Monk had a unique sound that won him millions of fans — and it certainly stole the heart of the Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter. In a new documentary, The Jazz Baroness, filmmaker Hannah Rothschild explores the unusual friendship between the American jazz pianist and the Englishwoman, and the impact they made on modern music.
Robin D.G. Kelley's new book, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, focuses on the career of the eccentric jazz pianist and composer. It reveals new details about Monk's life, music and mental health problems, and provides a glimpse into the New York jazz scene of the mid-twentieth century.
Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead looks at the work of jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. This week, Monk received a special posthumous citation from the Pulitzer Prize committee for "a body of distinguished and innovative musical composition that has had a significant and enduring impact on the evolution of jazz."
An in-studio concert and interview with jazz pianist Jessica Williams, recorded at WHYY. The concert was previewed on last Wednesday's show. It will feature Williams' original songs as well as some interpretations of standards, some from Williams' 1997 release: "Higher Standards" (Candid). Williams has been recording albums, both solo and with ensembles, since 1978. Her music is often featured on Fresh Air between interview segments.
In-studio interview and concert with composer Joel Forrester, the co-founder of the Microscopic Septet (now defunct), composer of the Fresh Air theme, and solo pianist with a new cd, "Stop the Music" (Koch Records).
Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new CD featuring Carmen McRae. It's "Carmen Sings Monk" on the BMG/RCA label. The recording is a first: no other performer has been permitted to record the lyrics to Monks' songs. McRae got special permission from the Monk family. The CD also features the late saxophonist Carlie Rouse.
Joel Forrester and Phillip Johnston founded the NYC-based jazz combo. The group had trouble finding an audience early on, in part because of their unique blending of styles. Forrester and Johnston join Fresh Air to talk about their influences, and the logistics of keeping such a large group together.
Independent jazz producer Orrin Keepnews. For the past 30 years he's produced the music of jazz artists like Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and Wes Montgomery. He was the founder of two important jazz labels, Riverside Records and Milestone Records. This year, he won a Grammy for the liner notes of a new box set of the complete Riverside recordings of Thelonious Monk.
Pianist Ran Blake. He heads the Third Stream Music Department at the New England Conservatory of Music. Third Stream music, a term coined by composer Gunther Schuller, integrates classical and jazz traditions. Blake has extended the definition to include other kinds of music. A CD of Blake's 1961 recording with singer Jeanne Lee has just been reissued by RCA.
Pianist Kenny Barron is part of the band Sphere. One of the group's largest influences and inspirations is Thelonious monk whose work is featured on their newest and first album "Four in One." Native Philadelphian Barron has also recently released two solo albums "Kenny Barron at the Piano" and "Golden Lotus."Barron also teaches music at Rutgers. Sphere will perform at the Afro-American Museum.